Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Stained Glass Painting with Tempera Resist

Deborah Walther
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students are introduced to the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany and produce a work of art inspired by Tiffany using tempera and ink, recognizing the characteristics of each medium and contrasting examples of paintings with Tiffany's artworks.


The student uses tools, media, processes, and techniques proficiently, knowledgeably, and in a safe and responsible manner.

The student applies various subjects, symbols, and ideas in works of art.

The student understands that works of art can communicate an idea and elicit a variety of responses through the use of selected media, techniques, and processes.


-Watercolor paper (poster board may be substituted)
-Tempera paints
-Various sizes of brushes
-Black India ink
-Slides or reproductions of work by Louis Comfort Tiffany
-Examples of paintings of similar subject matter, themes or symbolism
-Venn Diagram and Art Production Criteria Checklist for both formative and summative evaluation (See Associated File)
-Evaluation Checklist (See Associated File)
-Overhead projector and transparencies (optional)


1. Gather background information about Louis Comfort Tiffany and have examples of his work to show the students. You can do this at Morse Museum [Louis Comfort Tiffany] (See Weblinks)
2. Have selected examples of paintings by other artists or students that reflect the same type of subject matter, symbols, or themes as Tiffany but in different media.
3. Have a simple sketch prepared to demonstrate the proper technique of painting with tempera and applying the adequate ink layers and washing the painting. This can be done ahead of time showing the 3 stages.
4. Have materials listed above readily available.
5. Download and preview the Venn Diagram, Art Production Criteria Checklist, and Evaluation Checklist located in the Associated File. Make a copy for each student or have available for students to copy from overhead or board.


1. Show examples of stain glass art by Louis Comfort Tiffany and give a brief biography.

2. Show examples of paintings with similar subject matter and ask the students to list the various subjects, symbols, and themes found in the two artworks. Have students compare and contrast the two types of artwork by drawing a Venn diagram on the board or have copies available for each student. Have students describe the similarities and the differences of the same subject rendered in different media and by different artists.

3. Have the students create a painting using similar subject matter, symbols, and a limited palette of colors similar to Tiffany’s artworks in stain glass but using different media - in this case, tempera paint and black India ink.

4. Discuss the characteristics of both tempera paints and India ink and how they react to water. Mention that the black ink will be used as the lead of stain glass to visually hold the different shapes together.

5. Demonstrate how to apply the layers of tempera to a simple pencil drawing which has been drawn to resemble a stain glass artwork. The lines surrounding the shapes are thickened and left unpainted to absorb the ink.

6. Write the criteria for the finished product on the board or copy the Art Production Criteria Checklist (See Associated File)and give to students to keep in their notebooks. The criteria will also be used as a self-evaluation tool at the completion of the project.

7. Next, the students sketch a design in pencil onto watercolor paper or poster board being sure to thicken the lines that separate their different colors or shapes. Students then paint the areas that are to be the colored glass, leaving the areas representing the lead left unpainted. The painted areas are to be painted with several layers of tempera. After the tempera is thoroughly dry, students apply a thin layer of black India ink. The ink will be absorbed into the open, unpainted areas and dry waterproof. The students wash their paintings when the ink is dry, letting the tempera have time to dissolve and release the ink, revealing the tempera colors underneath.

8. The students assess their own artwork upon completion of the project, along with the teacher, who guides the student through this process giving and receiving feedback when needed. (See Associated File)


1. Each student should have participated in the contrast and comparison of Tiffany’s work and those of paintings with similar subjects or themes using the Venn diagram. This could be assessed by teacher observation or have the students actually complete and turn in the Venn diagram. (See Associated File)
2. Each student should show mastery of the use of tools, materials, and techniques noted by teacher observation.
3. Each student should have completed a) the project entitled “Stain Glass Painting with Tempera Resist” in accordance to the Art Production Criteria Checklist, and b) a self-assessment. Evaluations are based upon the Art Production Criteria Checklist. (See Associated File)
4. The Evaluation Checklist is a tool the teacher may use to record evidence of the mastery of the benchmarks and standards listed. (See Associated File)


This lesson can be modified to allow students to illustrate a specific theme or time period. The stain glass type painting lends itself well to illustration of literature or selected social issues, such as the plight of endangered animals and issues affecting teens today.

Web Links

Part of the Morse Museum collection
Louis Comfort Tiffany

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